William Demant announced that the French Competition Authority (FCA) has approved the company’s acquisition of Audika Groupe. As reported in a February 17, 2015 article in The Hearing Review, William Demant Holding A/S had previously announced its signing of a share purchase agreement for the acquisition from Holton SAS of 53.9% of the share capital in Audika Groupe (“Audika”).
The September 18, 2015 announcement was published on the FCA’s website. The approval by the French Competition Authority was the final condition for William Demant’s purchase of the controlling interest in Audika, and closing of the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of September 2015. The company reports that shortly after closing of the transaction, a mandatory public, simplified tender offer for the remaining 46.1% of the share capital in Audika will be launched at the same price as for the acquisition of the controlling interest, in accordance with French takeover regulations.
Audika is reportedly the largest hearing aid dispensing chain in France, and has 460 dispensing centers in the country. The addition of Audika is expected to increase WDH’s group sales by 7%, according to market analyst Niels Leth of Carnegie Investment Bank in Copenhagen, although the regulatory approval reportedly required WDH to divest in 7 of its own retail offices in France, cut supply agreements with 4 others, and refrain from acquiring more outlets in certain districts of France.